CHICAGO — Trump said on Monday that he plans to send federal law enforcement officials to U.S. cities.
This comes as people react to federal personnel grabbing protesters and pulling them into unmarked vans in Portland, Ore.
Reuters reported that Trump mentioned New York, Chicago, Philadelphia, Detroit, Baltimore and Oakland, California, as possible places for sending in federal forces, noting the cities’ mayors are “liberal Democrats.”
Chicago Mayor Lori Lightfoot regularly tangles with Trump administration personnel on Twitter.
The Chicago Tribune reported that the Department of Homeland Security is planning to send 150 agents to Chicago in the next week.
The Homeland Security Investigations (HSI) agents are to assist other federal law enforcement and Chicago police in anti-crime efforts, the Tribune reported. A specific plan on what the agents will be doing had not been made public, however.
One city official told the newspaper the city was aware of the plan but not any specifics.
One Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) official in Chicago, who asked not to be named because they were not authorized to speak, told the Tribune the deployment was expected to take place. The official noted that the HSI agents, who are part of ICE, would not be involved in immigration or deportation matters.
The head of the Fraternal Order of Police, Chicago’s police union, did have an opinion. WGN-TV reported that John Catanzara called Lightfoot a complete failure, who is not able to maintain law and order, in a letter sent to Trump.
Catanzara offered to sit down with Trump anytime to come up with ideas for “how to bring civility back to the streets of Chicago.”
The full letter can be read on the WGN-TV website.
The ACLU of Illinois voiced their opposition to sending federal law enforcement to Chicago on Monday.
“In recent days, the Trump Administration has threatened to send unmarked federal forces to Chicago and other cities across the country,” said Colleen Connell, executive director of the ACLU of Illinois, in a statement. “Given the documented abuse in Portland by federal forces against the press and those protesting police killing of Black people, it is clear that we are in a fight to save our democracy against a reckless administration bent on terrorizing our communities and endangering lives.”
Connell said the agents would not be a “constructive force” in the city, pointing to the recent action in Portland as an example.
“This is not law and order. This is an assault on the people of this country, and the specific protections of protest and press in the First Amendment,” she said.